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 Home > Event-related > World Social Forum > World Social Forum 2005 > Debriefing reports

[ en es pt ]

Housing in Porto Alegre

WSF 2005 Debriefing report
(Date: 8 March 2005)

Housing workgroup: Bettina, Simone, Regina

Report by: Bettina

When the budget was written, we anticipated that we would rely on solidarity housing and to house the interpreters as close to the venue as possible. We made reservations very early (in May) in hotels for professional interpreters (for those who had the heaviest workload) and for those with special needs.

However, there were some problems:

  1. most of the professional intepreters from Brazil demanded to stay in hotel rooms (some even wanted to have single rooms, preferably with "cable TV"!).
  2. two travel agencies booked all hotels and collective housing places near the venue around May 2004, and were selling the reservations at outrageous prices. Even when we found places in cheaper hotels, they charged two or three times the regular price when they learnt it was for the WSF.
  3. the tickets were bought very, very late. We needed the names of the people to make reservations in hotels and houses, and to pass this information to the interpreters, which it was possible to do in some cases, not in others. Also, the WSF had to pay more days because people arrived earlier and had to leave Poa later than the 31st.
  4. Another issue was the tour to Gramado, which per se was not a problem, but the organizers also never bothered to tell those involved in housing who was going, so the WSF also payed extra days in hotels for nothing.
  5. Some regional coordinators did not give access to the full information of the volunteers in their list. We had to find the regional coordinators to communicate with the interpreters, wasting precious time.
  6. Only three people working with housing, and only one full time. During the last two weeks, Regina from the Executive office, came to help and was involved full time in housing.

Solidarity Housing

Simone and Bettina made contacts with the solidarity housing service of the Municipal Tourist Office, which had a large list of solidarity accomodation, through Jarbas Ferreira, the person in charge of infra-structure within the Executive Office of the WSF. People working in the Executive Office also volunteered to house interpreters, and some Babels volunteers as well. Simone and Bettina visited some of the places, but not all of them because there was no time - both of us had other tasks to do.

The requirements were:
- clean proper bed in a bedroom (individual or shared - not living rooms or matresses on the floor),
- breakfast.

The main problem was that many of the hosts got greedy: some interpreters were housed in living rooms, with 4 other people, dirty places, thin matresses in living rooms, no breakfast. Some interpreters complained, and were changed, but many did not say anything, and we should have told them that they could change if needed.

One other problem is that some interpreters moved and did not tell us from where they were leaving and to where they were going, which increased our costs – the WSF payed for places that were not used.

Collective housing

Here again there were some problems in the beginning: the SESC did not deliver promised conditions, but this seemed to have been solved.

Coordinators that arrived earlier were housed in two apartments rented for 20 days, and one for 10 days.


Hotels (3 star hotels) were reserved for professional interpreters and people with special needs.

Some suggestions for the organization of housing in Babels:

- Include AGE as one item of registration
- Have more people involved in housing: we were only three (Regina also helped in the last two weeks)
- Make clear to the intepreters that they CAN and MUST change housing if minimal requirements are not met.
- The interpreters also must take responsibility to notify the organization when they are moving

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